Diet and Foods for High Blood Pressure, Hypertension

Diet and Foods for High Blood Pressure, Hypertension

High blood pressure is a silent killer and one should try to maintain blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg to prevent the risk of heart diseases which is caused due to high blood pressure. In America an average diet contains good amount of fat, salt, cholesterol and calories, and the lifestyle of people is very sedentary, that raises the risk of heart diseases.

Around 50% of the people who suffer from high blood pressure are not aware of their condition but certain groups of people are at a higher risk such as

1. People who smoke (active or passive)
2. Suffering from diabetes
3. Family history of high blood pressure.
4. Obesity or overweight
5. Leading a sedentary lifestyle or being physically inactive.
6. Men above the age of 45 years and women above 55 years.
7. People who have a high cholesterol level

Women taking oral contraceptives
9. People who belong to African American group
10. Taking excess quantities of alcohol or other beverages.

What to avoid in the diet to prevent the condition?

Sodium: Reduce intake of high sodium diet. Butter milk, pickles, cured meats, sausages, canned fish such as salmon and tuna should be avoided. Processed meats, packaged food items such as frozen dinners, pizzas and pot pies are high in sodium and it should be avoided. One should not take more than 2,300 mg of sodium in diet.

A simple method of testing high sodium content in food is – if you can taste salt in the food then it contains a good amount of it. Even salt substitutes may not be safe. One should be cautious and avoid any substitute without the approval of a medical practitioner.

Bad cholesterol: Reduce intake of food items containing bad cholesterol. Certain cooking oils can have bad cholesterol. A person requires not more than 150 mg of cholesterol each day.

Reduce intake of fat: Reduce intake of food which is high in fat. Canned soups and packaged soups contain preservatives and chemicals should be avoided. 27% of the calories should come from fat and 18% of the calories in a day should come from proteins. Cheese products are also high in fat.

Drugs and medicines: One should not take drugs such as aspirin which have anti clotting properties. Such drugs raise the risk of heart attacks.

Nicotine: Reduce intake of nicotine. The chemicals in cigarette constrict the blood vessels and it can narrow the veins to increase blood pressure.

What to include in the diet?

1. One should include good amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in diet to reduce fat intake.

2. Take low fat milk and milk products.

3. Include wholegrain products in diet.

4. Fish and poultry can be included.

5. Include fiber in diet, up to 30 mg of fiber should be included each day in diet. One can get fibers from whole wheat, cereals, oatmeal, popcorn etc.

6. Broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and beans can be included in the diet as it contains good amount of magnesium and potassium.

7. Apples, mangoes, apricots, bananas and grapefruits are also high in potassium and magnesium.

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High Blood Pressure Effects

High Blood Pressure Effects

Generally, people with high blood pressure don’t realize that it is high. It’s the long-term high blood pressure effects that cause the problems. High blood pressure (HBP) causes problems over many years. Left untreated and HBP will cause long term medical conditions. It affects the whole body. HBP side effects can lead to serious medical conditions, disability and even death.

HBP affects the small blood vessels in the body’s organs. The organs and tracts of the body that long-term HBP, also known as chronic high blood pressure, affects most include:

Blood vessels and arteries

Chronic High Blood Pressure Effects on the Arteries

Healthy arteries should be very flexible with a lot of elasticity. Also, the inner lining of a blood vessel should be smooth for blood to flow unobstructed on its way to supply tissue and organs with oxygen and other nutrients.

If there is HBP in the arteries, it can cause many problems. Chronic HBP makes the arteries throughout the body become hard especially those in the heart, brain, and kidneys. This, in turn, causes these organs to work harder. Other high BP effects on the arteries include:
Thicker and stiffer arteries
Weaker arteries
Narrowing of the arteries

Chronic High Blood Pressure Effects on the Heart

The heart pumps blood that contains oxygen and other nutrients throughout the whole body. Chronic HBP can damage the heart in a number of ways. One is by causing the inside of the blood vessels to get smaller and harder therefore causing the pressure inside to increase.

This makes the heart work harder to get blood through the blood vessels. The heart is a muscle. Like any other muscle in the body making it work harder makes the heart grow bigger. A bigger heart is not as good as it sounds. The heart gets stretched out from growing larger. With the heart working harder to pump, small amounts of blood can remain within the heart. This causes the heart to weaken because it cannot continue to pump any harder against the pressure in the blood vessels. When the heart can no longer pump all the blood out, heart failure occurs. This is known as congestive heart failure.

Chronic High Blood Pressure Effects on the Brain

Chronic HBP can damage the brain through a stroke. A stroke is characterized by a blockage preventing blood from flowing and providing oxygen to the brain or by an artery leaking blood into the brain.

Chronic High Blood Pressure Effects on the Kidneys

The kidneys are essential organs that can be seriously hurt by the long term effects of HBP. If the arteries supplying blood to the kidneys are narrowed, the kidneys will not get the blood it needs to function and the kidneys will steadily lose its capability to function.

Chronic High Blood Pressure Effects on the Eyes

HBP can also cause changes within the eyes. Chronic HBP threatens the blood vessels in the eyes at by:

Making them narrow
Causing them to rupture

The by-product of these is impaired vision which can lead to blindness. With HBP blood vessels in the eyes may burst or bleed. As a result eyesight may become cloudy or impaired.

Chronic HBP affects the blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. This is why someone with chronic HBP is at serious risk for heart attack, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure.

Brian F. Brown is a medical professional and author who resides in Indiana. He runs a website that provides information on how how to control and normalize high blood pressure, visit Brian’s website at

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